The fabulous LaDiva Cucina is the host for this round of the Culinary Throwdown Challenge and she's chosen Picnic Basket as the theme.
I haven't been able to participate in the last few throwdowns but when I saw this one I knew I had to play.
The oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is coming our way. It's inevitable and really only a matter of time before we see oil and tar here in Destin.
Knowing that our days in the water are numbered we've spent EVERY day at the beach for the last two weeks.
Which means almost all of our dinners are eaten picnic style on the beach.
Sitting here, eating out of our laps.
Or here, on the boat.
My first thought for this challenge was seafood but to be honest we've eaten so much seafood in the past month that our standard dinner fair has become this.
Boiled shrimp and fried fish.
Easy to pick up by boat and eat in the sand or on the boat.
But starting to get a little old.
So for the Throwdown Challenge I decided to get creative and make a cold, light, summer soup for dinner.
I found a recipe for Mango Gazpacho and that sounded so good I gave it a try.
Not too many ingredients and all of it nice and fresh. Except for the parsley which I forgot to get and ended up using dried.
I wondered about the orange juice giving it a smoothie kind of flavor but there were a lot of good reviews for this soup so I assumed that wouldn't happen.
I put the mango, orange juice and olive oil into my 30 year old blender (which works better than any new blender I've ever tried)
And pureed it.
I added chopped onion, red pepper, cucumber, garlic, jalapeno and a little salt, pepper and parsley for flavor.
And got this.
Hmm. I'm not really loving how this looks.
I gave it a taste and guess what. It's a mango smoothie with some veggies floating around in it.
Which is not appealing.
Well damn. It's Tuesday evening and too late to do anything else so I guess we'll have to go with this.
My children are completely burnt out on the beach. They don't want to go. The Youngest Island Boy told me that his mouth is becoming permanently disfigured from his snorkel and that his skin is wrinkled like a prune all of the time now.
This is bad. I'm in the last hours of the throwdown, I've made this God-awful soup and we ARE GOING TO HAVE A PICNIC. Dammit.
The Island King pulled the "I've got to work card" and the Oldest Island Boy whined with a headache but Island Girl and the Youngest Island Boy agreed (reluctantly) to help their Mom finish this challenge.
So off to the beach we went.
Neither of them had seen the soup so they were both quite surprised when I pulled it out of the cooler.
But they tried it.
And had the same reaction I did.
They were pretty ticked off when they realized they'd been dragged to the beach to eat bad soup.
I was afraid that might happen.
Which is why I packed roast beef sandwiches too.
I'm actually very disappointed. I really thought this might be my chance at winning the Throwdown.
I make a mean fish sandwich and can cook shrimp to perfection but I decided to try something new for this and it bit me in the butt.
Oh well. I did learn that Mango Gazpacho is terrible and that we're sticking to fish sandwiches for our dinners on the beach.
The recipe that I used can be found here if you're interested in trying a Mango Smoothie with Vegetables.
But I'm warning you - it's ain't that great.
For some good picnic food go here and see what everyone else came up with.